Unfortunately, in mid-August 1972 the nearly 20-year reign of Kiddieland came to a screeching halt. Soaring maintenance and rental costs forced Saylor Conard to turn out the lights for the final time. It was estimated that more than a hundred cars, carrying an average three kids, visited the park daily, however, the effort to maintain the low ticket price of 10 to 15 cents made it impossible to cover expenses.
Many attempts were made to move the operation to the Lake Storey area and partnership with the city of Galesburg. Although city officials were sympathetic to the cause, the City Council repeatedly voted down the requested relocation. It was reported that a local bank had agreed to extend a loan if the city agreed to move the rides to Lake Storey. More than 5,000 residents signed petitions urging the council to jump aboard. Members of the local Army Reserve Unit volunteered to disassemble, move and reconstruct the rides if the new location was approved.
The soul of Kiddieland is long gone. The voices of joy from area children, the light in the sky and spinning rides are nowhere to be seen, but will long be remembered.
By Tom Wilson, local historian, May 14, 2005.
Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D.